Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Image of God

I've just read DJA Clines' article on the image of God in man from the Tyndale Bulletin. Bruce Waltke uses this paper in his section on 'image' in Gen 1:26 in his commentary on Genesis. It's an excellent paper, illustrating the importance of an understanding of the ANE world when we are interpreting the OT. This issue of ANE parallels is also addressed by Peter Enns in his excellent book 'Inspiration and Incarnation'. Try this quote out from Clines, which comes after an examination of the ANE meaning of 'image of god' as being a statue, a three-dimensional representation:

The body cannot be left out of the meaning of the image; man is a totality...The importance of this understanding of the image is obvious; the value of the body is strikingly affirmed...

The doctrine of the image is thus the protological counterpart of the eschatological doctrine of the resurrection of the body; like eschatology, protology is basically concerned to depict a truth of existential significance, in this case, that of the indivisible unity of man's nature...

...the image does not primarily mean similarity, but the representation of the one who is imaged in a place where he is not. If God wills his image to be corporeal man...he thereby wills the manner of his presence in the world to be the selfsame uniting of physical and spiritual.

DJA Clines, The Image of God in Man, TynBul 19, 1968, 87

As Clines then says, at this point the doctrine of the incarnation lies close at hand! Not only the incarnation of Christ, now seated at the right hand of the Father, but the indwelling of the Spirit in the Church.